The heart of our home is undoubtedly the kitchen. It is where we cook, gather, do paperwork and homework.
Many homeowners are daunted by the prospect of remodeling and modernizing their kitchen because of the inevitable downtime, during which the kitchen will not be accessible for several weeks, as well as the huge cost. Yet it is one of the best home improvement investments you can make, adding to both the value of your home and your well being.
Here are some design tips that will give you a whole new look for your kitchen with minimal disruption, waste and for half the cost.
Paint your kitchen cabinets
If you are happy with the overall layout of your kitchen but want to modernize it and change the color scheme, then consider painting your cabinets. This is especially worthwhile if the cabinets are wood stained a dark color or the room feels dark. The cabinetry in this kitchen we redesigned was previously a dark stain which made the whole room feel gloomy. Painting the perimeter cabinets a soft gray and the island cabinets a bright blue/green immediately updated and brightened the mood and style. No demo required!
Here is the BEFORE PHOTO:
Reface your kitchen cabinets
If you have old framed cabinets and want the streamlined and updated look of full overlay doors which hang flush and cover the full face of your cabinets, you can reface or change all the cabinet doors without changing the cabinet shells or boxes. This is a larger project but again you save on land fill, the demolition cost and the mess!
Update your countertop
In the kitchen we redesigned featured in the first photo above, we did not change the countertop which was a saving in terms of cost and the environmental impact. But maybe your cabinets are not the problem. Nothing dates a kitchen more than an old laminate or corian counter top. Natural stone, such as quartz, is very hard wearing and comes in stunning modern patterns which mimic natural stone like marble.
Top tip: Marble is generally not advisable for kitchens as it is a softer stone prone to etching. However if you love the look of marble and how it ages, then go for it but use a honed instead of a polished finish.
You can even extend a kitchen island by using the stone to create an additional work surface or counter high seating area as we did in this kitchen below.
Here is another example where a waterfall stone top extends to the floor on both sides creating an expanded work surface and seating nook:
Change your lighting
Dramatic new light fixtures have been a design trend for several years. They can make a kitchen look more up to date and modern as well as improve the overall lighting.
Oversized and airy fixtures like these make a kitchen feel more spacious and will add modern styling to a tired kitchen. Generally you need a higher ceiling than the standard 8′ but there are still great options and if the lighting is hung over an island you can go lower than normal. Just make sure not to block your line of sight across the island. These on trend open metal, geometric style fixtures work well.
Woven light fixtures are having a moment and add a comforting, organic farmhouse style element
Consider your under cabinet lighting too. New LED under cabinet lighting comes in narrow strips and makes for a cleaner look. They can also offer you different color temperatures for improved functionality while cooking and mood lighting for an evening background setting.
Update your backsplash and change your tile
Old fashioned tile can be removed and updated. For a clean streamlined look, use the same stone for the backsplash as for the countertop. This is where stones with beautiful veining can be displayed to dramatic effect.
Subway tile remains a popular option and allows you to bring some color and texture into your kitchen. You can use tile to be creative and create a focal point.
In this kitchen we used a glazed subway tile with a watercolor effect and used a border of contrasting pencil tile and a herringbone pattern to define a bar and coffee area:
Do not forget your kitchen floor
Tile or stone can be used to make a real statement on the floor. I love these patterns that remind me of my travels.
Below, we kept the backsplash simple with a soft white subway tile so as not to upstage the floor.
I hope you feel inspired to move ahead and update your kitchen!